Visit to South African embassy in Moscow 2013-12-09 23:15:00 Moscow Vladimir Putin visited the South African embassy in Moscow and paid tribute to the memory of longtime South African leader Nelson Mandela. The President of Russia made the following inscription in the condolence book: “Nelson Mandela was a brave and wise individual who fought consistently for his convictions, always remaining a great humanist and peacemaker. This is precisely the approach needed in the world today: seeking compromises is the best foundation for harmony and cooperation. In the name of all Russians and myself personally, I express my sincere condolences to Nelson Mandela’s loved ones and all the people of South Africa.” In addition, the President of Russia spoke about the role the Former President of South Africa played in global politics. * * * Question: Mr President, we saw that you expressed your condolences on paper. If possible, we would like to hear from you personally what you think of this man and his role in global politics? President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Nelson Mandela was certainly one of the most outstanding global public figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. His influence is comparable to that of Mahatma Gandhi and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Without a doubt, he was a great friend to our people. I want to remind all Russians, as well as the people of South Africa, that it was our nation – the Soviet Union – that supported the nations of Africa and southern Africa most actively in their fight against racial segregation and in their fight for justice and democracy. Since then, we have developed special, very warm, trust-based relations between our peoples. Our relationship received an additional impetus during Nelson Mandela’s visit to Russia in 1999. In March of this year, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma and I signed a Declaration and announced the creation of a strategic partnership. That is the key in which we will be developing our relations with South Africa, which is a BRICS nation. In this regard, we have and are creating all the conditions for broadening our cooperation. As for Nelson Mandela, he played an exceedingly important role as an outstanding humanist not just for his nation, but for the entire world. Thank you very much.